Community dialogue in smart lighting upgrades
Lighting plays an exceptional role in today’s urban landscape. It is the pinnacle of many council initiatives and its technological possibilities are often the basis for a developing smart city. It is also one of the few programs councils work on that will affect every resident in the area.
Georgia Power, one of the largest subsidiaries of US gas and electricity utility company Southern Company, is responsible for the mass changeover of LED street lighting in over 275 municipalities, having installed over 255,000 LED street lighting fixtures with smart control capabilities. This includes the City of Atlanta with 37,000 fixtures and trickles down to smaller communities with only a few dozen street lighting units.
When planning and undertaking large-scale lighting projects in municipalities, many aspects must be taken into consideration. Scotty Hutto, lighting services manager of Georgia Power Co, US, points out that community dialogue is an absolute necessity.
With his understanding of smart technologies, derived from 35 years of lighting and energy-related experience, including leading the start-up of Georgia Power’s SiteView ‘Surveillance as a Service’ program, Hutto will bring his insights
Down Under in September this year at the Australian Smart Lighting Summit, which will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Local councils and attendees will be treated to a thought-provoking presentation on smart lighting trials that are currently being undertaken in Georgia in the US.
Hutto believes you need to “let your community know what you’re doing and why”, so that when you invest time in the front end, you will be saved the pain, aggravation and time on the back end of the project. He also notes the necessity of pre-planning and allowing for unforeseen circumstances, such as weather delays, while simultaneously addressing the needs of the community and remaining on time and within budget.
Through his position at Georgia Power, Hutto has been actively involved in the implementation of LED street lighting and IoT (Internet of Things) technology. To name a few outstanding projects:
- City of Savannah is Georgia Power’s first smart lighting conversion
- City of Atlanta’s smart lighting installation is the largest, and
- its IoT device installation is the most technologically advanced and challenging.
Although most conversions were welcomedwith positive feedback, not all changes in the process were met without resistance. Through careful consultation and responsive measures, the problem was proactively solved once a solution was available. Following initial instalments of 4000-Kelvin LED fixtures, like many other US street lighting projects, complaints were received about the unit’s perceived brightness, particularly in residential zones. Following a change of standards and increased access to 3000K temperature fittings, however, complaints have virtually been eliminated.
With the council’s determination to improve the community experience, municipalities worldwide are employing smart lighting advancements in the quest to improve quality of life and sustainability, and encourage community involvement.
In the lead-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, City of Gold Coast (CoGC) implemented smart street lighting fixtures. This benefited residents through reduced energy and maintenance costs, and the games highlighted new lighting installations in the Surfers Paradise Sign and Broadbeach Sign.
Executive coordinator of the Energy Management Program at CoGC, Pamela Bessette, leads a team responsible for managing and implementing effective energy- based solutions across Australia’s largest Local Government Authority. Through her position with CoGC, Bessette is able to utilise the smart lighting network through intelligent phone and desktop apps that allow for real-time access to enhance, dim and switch the lights on or off from any location.
Employing such advanced smart street lighting technology has allowed for the accurate assessment of energy consumption, an increase in lighting shelf life, a reduction in carbon emissions and the ability to creatively embellish visual lighting effects in the streets of Queensland.
Although the lights are underutilised at this current stage, Bessette believes this will change once the team is more familiar with the system over the next few months.
One application that is growing among the flora and fauna is the implementation of intelligent technology in a garden space. In the heart of Sydney flourishes theconnectivity of a smart city. Sydney’s Royal Botanical Garden, a 202-year-old institution, encapsulates two distinct environments: the garden itself and the Domain.
Given the distinction between areas, the need to differentiate between requirements is what “drives the need for smarter lighting to ensure consistency for general lighting and public safety,” says George Salouros, director of Assets and Facilities Management at the Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands.
Working backwards through the decades, Salouros points out that the easiest process for incorporating smart lighting solutions into the parklands has been to steadily upgrade the newest buildings first.
The Sydney parkland holds a certain level of significance to the community. With some buildings as old as 165 years and some as young as four, it was imperative that the process of converting to smart lighting was not only efficient, but also effective.
Salouros oversees the lighting assets across 11 square kilometres (1100 hectares) of parkland, which is managed by the Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands. He was also closely involved with the design and installation of the connectivity of Sydney’s Royal Botanical Garden.
Hutto, Bessette and Salouros will be speaking at the 6th Australian Smart Lighting Summit on 11 and 12 September 2018 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Hosting over 150 delegates and 30 local and international keynote speakers, the summit promises to enlighten attendees, who will be privy to the latest information surrounding smart lighting technologies and initiatives.